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Sakurajima (Kagoshima-ken) [E]
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:39 pm Back to top

Location : Sakurajima (桜島)

Prefecture : Kagoshima-ken (鹿児島県)

Attractions :

Furusato Onsen (ふるさと温泉)
Opening hours : 8:00-22:00
Price : 1050 yen
Access : 15 minutes by ferry from the Kagoshima harbor (Sakurajima Sanbashi, be careful, there are several harbors in Kagoshima), or directly by car

Internet :


Kagoshima Kanko Hotel


Sakurajima Harbor


Kagoshima Harbor

It takes 6 to 7 hours by train to reach the city of Kagoshima from Nagoya. This is mostly due to the lack of Shinkansen track for about half the distance between Fukuoka (north of Kyushu) and Kagoshima, requiring transfers with regular trains.

My plan was not to stay in Kagoshima but go to Sakurajima instead, an island with an active volcano, located only 15 minutes from the city by ferry. I was lucky: the hotel I was interested in still had a room for the night.

Let me clarify something before I continue: I am referring to Sakurajima as an island even though it is not (or not longer should I say) an island, since the lava flow connected Sakurajima to the mainland during the last major eruption in 1914.

Nevertheless, it is still an island in people's minds and the fact that the name has remained unchanged for almost a century clearly reflects it. In fact, the "jima" ending is a phonetic alteration of "shima", which writes 島 and means "island", therefore Sakurajima literally means "cherry blossom island". Had it been discovered recently, it would have probably been called Sakura-hantou, hantou (半島) meaning peninsula (literally, "half-island").

These considerations do not change the fact that nowadays, the volcano is still active and under strict surveillance. Not only several thousand people live on the island (!), but Kagoshima and its 600000 inhabitants are only a few kilometers away...

The crater almost continously emits fumes of steam, more or less visible from the peninsula depending on the day. It was rather "quiet" the day I went there, as the next picture shows:

Image 1459

Approaching the island:

Image 1460

My hotel was on the south coast, with a beautiful view:

Image 1461   Image 1462   Image 1463

But the real reason why I chose that hotel was its rotenburo (outside bath)...I am a real onsen lover and whenever I travel, I try to take advantage of those wonders of nature as much as possible. In that case, I only have two small complaints:
  • the changing room, right next to the bath, is absolutely ugly (I guess they were trying to design a bunker). But it is easy to not notice it anymore once inside the bath, as the gaze is naturally drawn to the ocean...
  • one has to wear a yukata because the bath is actually a shrine

Those tiny little details aside, it's a wonder: the bath is spacious, the view is fantastic, the place is quiet and the shrine adds a lot to the atmosphere:

Image 1464   Image 1465   Image 1466

Image 1467   Image 1468   Image 1469

I went to bed quite early to see the sunrise the next morning:

Image 1470

I then hopped into the rotenburo, had my breakfast, left the hotel and rented a bicycle to explore the island. Due to the volcanic activity, there are no hiking trails on Sakurajima and the "exploration" mainly consists in following the coast road, stopping at the observation spots. Here is the most famous one, in the heights:
Image 1471   Image 1472

Many lava trenches have been built to direct the lava flow to the sea in case the volcano erupts:

Image 1473

As well as shelters:

Image 1474

Another observation spot, at the southeast:

Image 1475

Image 1476

source :

Last edited by Tarto on Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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